Brocach, 8:30 pm
With his cowboy hat and ornate steel guitar, Stephenson is one of Madison's signature street performers. This time of year, of course, it's a lot more appealing to see him play heartfelt blues in the cozy confines of Brocach.
When Water Was Here
Vilas Park walking path, between Grant Street and Edgewood Avenue, through June 21
Local artist Brenda Baker's site-specific installation, made from native willow and dogwood, is based on primitive canoe structures found in Northern European graves over 5,000 years ago. The piece comments on the fragile Lake Wingra watershed and the cultural geography of the surrounding land. It looks to the past, when Lake Wingra was surrounded by marshland, effigy markers and native camps; and to a possible dark future, with the lake destroyed by human intervention.
UW Design Gallery, 1300 Linden Dr., through Feb. 2
This exhibition explores the subtleties of the Japanese garment, featuring samples from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection.
Brink Lounge, 7 pm
The local singer-guitarist has a knack for songwriting and a strong voice. His lyrics are personal and accessible, telling stories of emotional endurance.
Samba Brazilian Grill, 7 pm. Also Thursday, Jan. 10, Brink Lounge, 7 pm
The local jazz singer takes a sophisticated approach to standards, occasionally spicing up her sets with Latin rhythms. Here's the place to find a mature take on great American love songs.
Orpheum Theatre, 7 pm
After a string of forceful live shows and the release of several much-talked-about mix tapes, Lil Wayne leapfrogged to the highest rung of the hip-hop ladder in 2007. No doubt 2008 will be just as supercharged for the nasal-voiced New Orleans rapper. This is the biggest hip-hop gig the city's likely to host this year. Jo Flowroshus also appears.
Poi Dog Pondering
High Noon Saloon, 8:30 pm
The big, hyper-creative Chicago-/Honolulu-/Austin-based unit sheds amplification, turns back the years and features five founding members in what's sure to be an acoustic set full of surprises. Romantica opens.